By Cerelia Liu
This month, BU housing has sent out several emails urging students to reserve on-campus housing for the next academic year. But some students have expressed concern about the deadline because of uncertainty created by the pandemic.
Students need to complete their housing application and pay $600 in nonrefundable fees to the school by 5 p.m. on February 28 for guaranteed housing.
COVID-19 vaccine distribution started in January, but students still can’t be sure about the future. They say the deadline for on-campus housing reservation puts a great amount of pressure on them because they only have a month to think about it.
BU has been teaching in a hybrid “Learn from Anywhere” (LfA) format since March, 2020, and lots of students have been staying either at home or off-campus. Students say that whether LfA will be continued in fall 2021 or not will hugely influence their decisions on reserving on-campus housing.
Ruiqi Li, an international student currently living in China, expressed that moving the deadline forward would allow her to make her decision based on the policy for next semester.
Li’s current plan for next semester is to “get the vaccine and go back on campus, but overall depending on further notice from school,” she wrote in a message.
She added that she felt “pressured and a little bit annoyed since we have to make our choice under the condition that the policy is unclear. The nonrefundable fees are kind of unreasonable.”
Kenya Fleur, a sophomore student who is living at home in Boston this semester after spending the fall semester on campus, said she wants to go back on campus for next semester but is uncertain what it will be like.
Fleur also thinks that the deadline should be later, at a time when students have a sense of what it is going to be like in next semester, especially because of her own experience of living on campus last semester.
“I didn’t like being on campus last semester, with how everything was,” she said. “So I don’t think it’s really fair to just have to decide before if I know if I like, know if I’m gonna be happy, because I was very depressed on campus with the way COVID has made it.”
Despite the uncertainty, Fleur still plans to pay the 600 dollar non refundable deposit.
“I’d rather pay it and have that security,” she said. “If I do end up going if things do get better, but if it doesn’t get better, then I’m just going to accept the fact that I lost that money to them.”
BU Spokesman Colin Riley wrote in an email, “BU Housing needs time to plan and manage room selection and assignments. There are more than 140 student residences and nearly 12,000 beds on campus, so it’s a formidable process.”
Furthermore, with the concern about the 600 nonrefundable fees, Riley said that it is 50 percent refundable through June 30, 2021 if students cancel housing by that time.